I have just learned 8 good questions to ask yourself when you are getting into a fight with your kids. More on why this is coming up later. But for now I will list out the questions.
1. Is my child's health or safety at stake?
Yes I believe arguing with your kids about jumping off a second story house might be a yes to this question.
2. Am I fighting for a deeply held value?
For me this would include lying, being hateful, or using certain words (shut up, stupid, fat, hate....)
3. Am I worried about others' opinions?
Almost all of our fights happen with no one else is around so I don't feel this really applies to me.
4. Is this a body issue? sleeping? eating? dressing?
It is good to win when it is 30 degrees outside and you kid does not want to wear a jacket.
5. Is my resistance a knee-jerk reaction?
I really need to work on this on
6. Do the benefits to my child (a sense of mastery, a new learning experience) outweigh the negatives?
I think I am pretty good about that, I let the kids try lots of new things and push there limits.
7. Is my child's behavior violating an established household rule?
I struggle with this one since my own unspoken rule is "what I say goes". Hard to keep a good balance that way.
8. Can I accommodate my child without compromising my own beliefs?
Again, hard to do this on when I think i am always right.
Question #8 came into play 2 weeks ago when Devin and I were fighting and he got mad at me for yelling at him "EVERYDAY". So I stopped and thought about it and I had been on a yelling streak so I stopped. Now I warn him before I am going to start yelling.
This post has been brought up mostly because of a situation that happened tonight.
I have been feeling sick the last couple days and my friend Shawn made me soup and brought it over for dinner. After we got done eating it was time for Devin to do his homework. He wanted to go play next door. So I told him that if he finished with enough time he could. Well being a normal kid he was taking to long so I finally told him he had run out of time. We argued back and forth about it. He was crying and yelling, storming off to his room, the whole nine yards.
Now that I think about it we were really fighting over time management. (and on top of that I am feeling sick and Devin was overtired and cranky) Not really the best way to teach a child. Maybe I should have gotten a timer out and let him have more control over the situation. But in the middle of a fight it is hard to give in. So I stood my ground like I always do and finally got Devin to get focused on his homework.
About this time Shawn was leaving and he told Devin that if he finished his homework and didn't give me a hard time he would go skateboarding (Devin's favorite thing right now) with him on Sunday. I held my composure but was a little pissed that all the fighting I had just done with Devin was under minded with one statement from my friend. Ugh!!!! In all fairness his daughter is only 3 and they have not gotten to this point in parenting yet. I stepped outside and explained my frustration with him and I think he really understood where I was coming from.
Most of you that read this have seen me around my kids and know how I am..... a hard ass to put it bluntly. But when you are outnumbered like I am I feel that is how I should be. It is just now getting to the point where I am starting to rethink a little of how I parent. Maybe the "iron fist" is not the best for all kids.